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How Do I Export Originals When Photos Had To Optimize Storage?

Hello. I want to export/ backup my iCloud library to an external harddisk.

My iCloud library is larger than the computer storage so to start syncing in the Photos app, I had to choose “optimized pictures”. I would want the originals, but then syncing couldn’t be done.

Now I want to “export originals” to backup the actual size stored in iCloud, onto my external harddisk. I mark all inn Photos and start export.

After this some pictures were exported to the external harddisk, but a pop up message said that a lot of pictures were not exported “because the files does not exist”. I guess this would be because only some pictures are downloaded to the Photos app as originals, and some optimized storage.

How can I get a backup of my iCloud on an external disc, so that I can delete them from the iCloud online?

Going through the web page only lets me download single files, or hold cmd and mark out each photo. This will take too much time.
Wanting backup of icloud

Comments: 7 Responses to “How Do I Export Originals When Photos Had To Optimize Storage?”

    3 years ago

    That’s a tough one. I suppose you could try to do it in batches, exporting by year, say. The idea would be that if you put all of the photos for one year in a Smart Album, then maybe choose them all and flip through them, then they would all be downloaded. Then select them all and export.

    The idea would then be to do the next year. Photos should download all of those, and hopefully realize it can offload the ones from the previous year since you got rid of that smart album.

    I’m not sure how that will work in practice. It may not offload that quickly and you’d run out of space.

    You really have the experiment here and try things like that. I can’t do it for you since I don’t have a lack of hard drive space, so I won’t hit the same problems as you.

    Another idea would be to move your Photos library to that external drive (or another one) temporarily since you obviously have space there. But moving your Photos library like that is risky and I wouldn’t do it without a backup, which you don’t have.

    Perhaps you can borrow another Mac with ample hard disk space, create a user account, log on to iCloud and turn on iCloud Photo Library (without optimization). Then let it all download there. Then archive that library to the external drive.

    Actually — you may be able to do that with your own Mac. Create a new user account. Log into to iCloud with iCloud Photo Library OFF. Then start Photos, creating the library on the external drive. Then turn iCloud Photo Library ON and let everything get added to the external drive’s library. Once done, log out and erase that account.

    Thank you for help
    3 years ago

    I have a total backup in the storage though. So can I try to “turn iCloud photo library off” and move the photos library to the external drive? and when I turn the iCloud photo library on, the original downloads will sync since there is enough space on the disc?

    if I move the Photos library to the external drive, will this affect the placement of the Photos library on the other users?

    How do I move the Photos library to the external drive?

    How do I change to original download

    3 years ago

    That was one of my suggestions, yes. But turning iCloud Photo Library off and then back on, then off again and back on again, is sure to be painful if you have that many photos. I wouldn’t do it without a complete backup of my library somewhere — which you don’t have yet.

    My second user account idea gets around this since it doesn’t touch the first user account at all. It seems to be the safer bet.

    Need help
    3 years ago

    Thank you for your response!

    Ok, now I have followed the steps and the iCloud in Photos is syncing to the external hard drive. BUT, they were nearly all synced, and then my screen saver went on and the external drive must have gone inactive/to sleep… when I woke up, no files were stored on the hard drive. It’s now syncing again without screensaver.

    How can I ensure that the external drive doesn’t sleep/turn off? And to get the files to stay saved to the external hard drive when disconne

    3 years ago

    Your external drive should not go to sleep if it is being used. Not sure why yours did — maybe a problem with that drive? Really hard to say without a firsthand look. Odd that there were files there, and then they disappeared? I can’t even think of why that would happen. Are you sure there were files in the library on the external? So the library there was a certain size, and then went to near zero? Very strange.

    need help
    3 years ago

    Ok. The icloud started to download to the external hard disc and is half way in syncing.

    Now, the downloading has stopped for hours. I cannot open any pages in Safari. Aps such as kalendar, ap-store, maps etc, will bounce when klicked, but not open. Safari opens, but doesnt work with any web-page. I checket preferences and network data, but there was only icloud. System preferences app works

    I checked my wifi, and DNS and they are identical to my hp pc and iphone (where everything works fine)

    3 years ago

    It sounds like you’ve got some problems with your Mac there. I would seek help (Genius Bar or local shop).

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